Every so often a book comes along that makes us sit up and pay attention. Such a book, is Salt Sugar Fat. In this meticulously researched book, investigative reporter, Michael Moss reveals how the huge multi-national food companies deliberately add salt, sugar, and fat to their products to increase consumption of them and give them a longer shelf life.
Some of the findings in this book are truly astonishing. “Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970), and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food.” I'm sure Canadian statistics would be very similar. It is fascinating to read about the research that is being done to give food the “bliss point”, i.e. just the right amount of these additives. Moss also describes how the food companies have used advertising techniques borrowed from the cigarette companies to make us feel better about eating processed food.
Moss shows examples of cases where multi-national companies knew their products and practises were contributing to the obesity epidemic, but chose to ignore the warnings, and focus only on the bottom line. This book will have you reading labels very closely next time you visit the grocery store.
Visit the CBC: The Current webpage and listen to an interview with the author.